24th December, Christmas Eve
Alexander Ryrie, Wonderful Exchange: An Exploration of Silent Prayer (Paulist Press, 2003), 75.
Image: Milada Vigerova, Tenerife, unsplash.com/@milada_vigerova
'In the modern Western world we tend to look on waiting in a very negative way. We dislike having to wait and sometimes take offense at being kept waiting. But waiting has always been seen as a positive and important aspect of silent prayer. In the deep inner silence, we wait for God. At times when the reality of God is particularly obscure, we may have to wait in darkness. In this silent waiting we are not actively doing anything, neither talking with God nor perhaps even enjoying God’s presence. We are indeed seeking God, but we do so not impatiently or restlessly but in a spirit of quiet, patient, and trustful waiting, because waiting is the mode of our seeking. It is not only a preliminary to prayer, something we have to do if we want to get deeper into prayer, a kind of necessary precondition to something greater. It is all that, but it is more than that: it is a part of the prayer itself.
Waiting for God means waiting in hope. Sometimes this hope itself may be obscure, and we may not be sure what we are waiting for. But because we have at times been given some sense of God’s presence, we trust that God will act in God’s own time and way, and make himself known. We cannot control the actions of God: God acts in God’s own personal freedom, out of grace, not compulsion. …
When we wait for God in silent prayer, we know that before we begin to wait for God, God was waiting for us. We wait because God first waited for us. So even when God seems distant or not available, we know with at least a part of our mind that somewhere in the shadows or the darkness God is waiting for us.'
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